Clerkenwell Design Week


Visualisation of Jaguar Foscarini installationThe fifth Clerkenwell Design Week opened on Tuesday 20th May, hosting the most innovative products, designers and brands around. Here are a few of our favourite locations on the showcase trail:

Design Factory – The Farmiloe Building

Jaguar and Italian lighting firm Foscarini have created a dramatic scene in the Design Factory’s atrium, pairing a bespoke Jaguar with a supersized light installation by Ferruccio Laviani.

Jaguar invited designers to submit concept wraps for its new Jaguar F-TYPE Coupé, using the #FearlessDesign hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.

The winning design, ‘Untamed Creativity’ by Justin Silke, resembles a dynamic scrawl, which Jaguar described as embodying their ‘design ethos of visual drama and individualism’.

Laviani’s Tuareg consists of orange and black tubular elements arranged into a three-dimensional structure and suspended from the ceiling. There are other Tuareg installations on display in the Foscarini stage, alongside other work, including Big Bang by Vicente Garcia Jimenez, Lightwing by Jean Marie Massaud and Rituals by Ludovica and Roberto Palomba.

Detail – St. John’s Square

Another exhibition worth visiting is Detail at St. John’s Square, which hosts luxury interior brands. One must-see is the edra showcase in the medieval crypt of the Order of St. John; featuring work from designers such as the Campana brothers, the pieces combine eclectic influences and reimagine them in classic furniture styles. The lowlights and tranquillity of the crypt somehow enhance the ‘otherness’ of the collection, ensuring a memorable experience.


Tile Mile – St. John’s Gate

Tile Mile - DezeenTile Mile invites visitors to revel in the kaleidoscopic effect of the transformed St. John’s Gate, which is described in The Icon Guide to CDW as being ‘reminiscent of the famous Basilica Cistern in Istanbul’.

Using mirrors in the inner arches and a complex, colourful floor tile design, Tile Mile also reflects the archway’s stunning vaulted ceiling. The temporary installation was created by architects russ + henshaw and sponsored by Turkishceramics.

Find out more about Clerkenwell Design Week (which runs until the 22nd May) here.

Study sheds light on retail environments


The relationship between lighting and customer experience has been explored in a new study, which reveals some interesting findings about customer perception.

The experiment, which was conducted by Zumtobel and Gruppe Nymphenburg, presented forty eight participants – who were put into groups based on their personality types – with a computer simulation of a retail display.

The picture underwent twenty changes in lighting while the participants were monitored for any unconscious physical reactions they might have, such as cardiac or neurological activity.

The study found that the ‘stimulance’ group (made of ‘hedonists’ and ‘adventurers’) had a positive reaction to strong lighting contrasts, such as bold spotlights, while the ‘balance’ group (‘bon vivants’, ‘harmonisers’ and ‘traditionalists’) and the ‘dominance’ group (‘performers’ and ‘disciplinarians’) preferred softer, more subtle lighting effects.

It has been suggested that these results could be used to modify retail environments’ lighting to suit their target audience. Read more about the study here.

Designer transforms waste into unique furniture


Designer Piet Hein Eek, famous for making furniture from waste material, has taken his vision one step further by creating his ‘Waste Waste’ range.

‘Waste Waste’ uses the wood offcuts that are too small to be used in the original ‘Waste’ collection, in which he takes scrap material and constructs items from scratch. For the new range, Eek cuts the awkwardly-shaped remnants into 40mm by 40mm cubes and uses them as a skin on a design rather than the whole construction, cutting down on labour and time.

This method creates simple, strong pieces, such as round ‘pixellated’ tables, and each piece is unique due to the cubes’ original varnish or paint.

Take a look at the collection here and tell us if you would have one of these pieces in your living room.

Ancient church revived by David Closes


This 18th century church built for the Sant Francesc convent has been revived by David Closes.

The church’s ancient architecture has been preserved in this new design, whilst also reinventing the building in a contemporary way.

The project aimed to convert the unused church into an auditorium and general cultural facility for the local Catalan area.

Take a closer look at this project here, and tell us if you think a church near you could do with some of this architectural inspiration.

Ajando’s ‘Next Level’ working environment


Cross-media agency Ajando are to use a very unusual loft as their new corporate headquarters, which has had its design inspired by quantum physicist John Wheeler, the architecture of Josef Hoffmann and, of course, the information expertise of Ajando.

Built upon the premise that “material is not the building material of our world, but rather information” this project aimed to deliver an architectural concept that mirrored the data and information that flows through Ajando. 

Needless to say internationally renowned architect Peter Stasek and Loftwerk architects had their hands full when commissioned to facilitate this ambition.

However the end product is impressive and as a result, the loft becomes a live cross-media platform in real life with perfect usability.

Take a closer look at this interesting project here, and tell us if this is a working environment you would enjoy.

The Global Design Forum – Design can make the world a better place


Global Design ForumGlobal Design ForumThe Global Design Forum brings together the most revered names across the sectors of design, branding, social enterprise and innovation. The Forum takes place in London starting on 16th September and is part of The London Design Festival.

The event will be the pre-eminent platform to explore and debate the powerful and pressing issues facing design. Most importantly, the event will explore how design can make the world a better place.

This forum will open with legendary designer and thinker Peter Saville taking part in a lively and provocative conversation with leading commentator and critic Paul Morley. The following day, across four sessions at the Southbank Centre, we will hear from advertising legend Sir John Hegarty; serial entrepreneur Brent Hoberman; designer, author and educator Ilse Crawford; BMW Group’s Head of Design Adrian van Hooydonk; the Head of Design at HTC Scott Croyle; not to mention Justine Simons, the Acting Deputy Mayor for Culture at the London Mayor’s Office; Alexei Orlov, the Chief Marketing Officer for Volkswagen Group China; Carmel Allen, Brand Champion of British interiors store Heal’s; and top international designers Ross Lovegrove (UK), Jaime Hayon (Spain) and Michael Young (Hong Kong). Comprising of one-on-one conversations, panel discussions, fast-paced presentations and Q&A sessions, the Forum creates a rich platform for open discussion and debate.

Be one of only 300 delegates to help set the global agenda for design and book your tickets now here, and tell us which issues you think could be discussed.

The best 10 offices in the world


It‘s no secret that we all like a fun and cool environment to work in, so we thought we would share this list of the best ten offices around with you.

Most of the usual big hitting companies are to be found in this list; such as Google and Red Bull.

Some of the unique features in these offices stretch from the cool and fun to just unbelievable, for example, one office has a three-storey slide, and another has a full-sized basketball court!

See the full list here, and tell us if this inspires you to jump into the office environment.

Solid Poetry brings designs to concrete


Solid PoetryWhilst it is an important material for construction, concrete isn’t normally very exciting. That has all changed thanks to designers Frederick Molenschot and Susanne Happle, and their new venue Solid Poetry.

Based in the Netherlands, they have come up with a concrete that when dry looks normal and plain, but when wet decorative designs appear.

The main benefits for this sort of idea would be bathrooms or wet rooms but could also be a nice way to brighten up the world on wet, rainy days.

To showcase the product they have produced several videos which are shown below.

Target builds giant dolls house in station


Doll HouseThresholdIn an experiential stunt of the grandest of scales, American retailer Target built a life-size dolls house in the middle of Grand Central Station in New York.

The installation, which was created by Deutsch Los Angeles, is a showcase of their Threshold home décor line and features between 3,500 and 4,000 products, with staff on hand for demonstrations and help.

The dolls house was built in just 54 hours by fitting together interlocking 4-by-8 panels creating a 1600-square-foot open-plan house, as well as a patio and lawn area.  This space allows Target to show-off their latest lines in their entirety, which would not be possible to do in stores, and will give some great exposure with over 500,000 people visiting the station every day.

You can find out more about the installation at Ad Age here.

The Chalk Room


Chalk RoomChalk RoomChalk RoomDesign studio JamesPlumb has followed up their refit of East London based store Hostem‘s shop floor with a new showroom in the basement of the same building.

A dimly lit room, decorated with some unique furniture, The Chalk Room is currently dedicated to Hostem’s bespoke service, made-to-measure clothing and accessories, but shoppers can also order furniture from JamesPlumb including a chandelier made from clusters of antique lampshades and a chest of drawers built from stacks of suitcases.

To create the downstairs room the studio opened up the space, painted it dark and dimmed the lighting, creating a calmness by making the corners and edges of the walls disappear.

Some of the unique furniture they have provided for the space includes a Chesterfield sofa that has a table coming out of the centre and a wardrobe that appears to be falling over. 

Find out more about their work with Hostem at dezeen.

Photographs by Thomas Giddings.

PuLSaTe pop-up installation


pulsatepulsatepulsateArchitects Lily Jencks and Nathanael Dorent have been commissioned by Capitol Designer Studio to design a unique pop-up installation in London called PuLSaTe.

Using Marazzi’s SistemN tiles, from a range stocked by Capitol, they fitted out a showroom in Primrose Hill to create PuLSaTe, a pop-up installation that will not only show off the uses and colours of the tiles but also provide a cultural hub.

The zig-zag design, along with sloped floors, plays with your perception. Benches built into the walls of the installation become a consumer experience like no other. The pop-up installation on Chalcot Road, opened on the 21st March and will remain open, running a variety events including workshops, until 27th October 2013.

Take a look at a video about the project below.

Pulsate from STRIPE on Vimeo.

Planters resemble miniature sustainable buildings


ienamiienamiienamiienamiWho wouldn’t want to get their hands on this planter series called ienami.

Designed by Japan-based studio Metaphys, these fun planters are made to look like miniature buildings (ienami refers to a row of houses in Japanese).

Inspired by minimalist style buildings with roof gardens, these contemporary micro homes look good with delicate plants like soft mosses and small succulents.

Alley, Plaza, Tunnel and Zig Zag are the four designs included in the collection.

A desk system for collaboration


SynthesisSynthesisSynthesisDesigner Seth Moczydlowski was thinking of educations establishments when designing the Synthesis Collaborative Desk, but we feel that there is serious potential for a wide range of applications. 

Each desk stands alone or fits snugly in a group of five for collaboration. The blend of wood and vibrant colors creates an interesting visual contrast that defines individual space when working together. Stackable, durable, and lightweight, they’re a great solution in any creative environment.

They were designed as part of an open-ended assignment that was themed around nature and the concepts of isolation vs. togetherness. Fulfilling this brief Seth states “In the classroom, students are required to work individually, as well as collaboratively at different times of the day. My desk design allows both functions, while providing an aesthetically pleasing environment for learning.”

Let us know what you think of them; would you like to use them in your office?

Space saving seating


Cube 6Cube 6Cube 6A system of stools that slot together to form a cube has been designed and built by Naho Matsuno.

Cube 6 is a product made from birch plywood and maple and the cube is 350 x 350 x 350mm when slotted together, and creates 6 stools or tables when taken apart.

Perfect for those who love to entertain or are short of space. The clever use of rails allows the stools to easily slide together and come apart when needed.

The is also a 3 stool version.

Iconic stool turns 80


Stool 60Stool 60 Stackedstool 60stool 60 mike meireOne of the most iconic and yet simplistic pieces of furniture turns 80 this year.

Artek’s Stool 60 is a familiar sight to many, and it is not really a surprise that this beautifully simple stool was designed by highly acclaimed architect Alvar Aalto. 

The unique design of the stool relies on the fact that it was the first 3-legged stool made of wood, and not tubular steel, with the iconic L-shaped legs taking years to perfect, the result being a simple and stackable stool that has survived the test of time for the best part of a century.

To commemorate the 80th birthday, Artek is releasing a series of the stools in the same colours that Alvar used in his designs at the time of their creation. They are also working with well known architects and designers to produce a new series of stools, with the first ones being released designed by Mike Meiré.  

There is a video showing the creation of his colourful stools below. Read the 80th Birthday press release here.

100 Years for Formica featured in The Guardian


Formica 100 years logoGuardian Formica Article2013 marks the 100th Anniversary of the iconic Formica brand, best known for laminates. The product was developed in USA in 1913 as a replacement for the mineral product ‘Mica’ and thus was called ‘Formica’ and did you know that laminate is made from paper? Many people don’t.

The Think Tank has worked with Formica in the UK and across EMEA for the past 10 years providing a range of marketing services including PR and as a part of the 100 years celebrations we have been working to raise the profile of the brand and its history through the media and yesterday saw a great article published on the website of The Guardian Newspaper.

Formica is an iconic product that is used all around us in our everyday lives and, judging by the fantastic comments posted on the Guardian website, many people have very fond memories of the brand. One of the pictures featured takes us right back to when The Think Tank was based in Soho and used to frequent the Piccadilly Cafe – we remember it well.

The article, titled ‘Shiny, happy households: Formica turns 100′, is written by Oliver Wainwright and looks at the history of the brand, and how it has developed and been used over the years.

To find out more about the history of this iconic brand click here and read the full article or alternatively click here to see ‘Formica: our century-old laminate love affair – in pictures‘, also published on the Guardian website.

You can also click below to view the article in PDF form.

Shiny, happy households_…pdf

Shiny, happy households_…pdf (957 kb)

Home: the must-see homewares and interiors event


Home ShowHome ShowHome ShowSunday 13th January see’s the opening of Earls Court’s anticipated homewares event, Home.

Running until Tuesday 15th January, the event managed to establish itself last year, and the second outing is promising to be even bigger, taking up both Earls Court 1 & 2 alongside Top Drawer.

The show hosts a compelling cross-section of stylish, design-led homewares and interiors products from the very best of UK and international companies, featuring over 220 brands, the majority of whom are making this their exclusive UK appearance. This is the ultimate buying destination for the trade, with the two events presenting collectively over 1000 design-led brands.

Register for free here.

Most Popular Design Projects of 2012


Moses BridgeNingbo Historic MuseumTverrfjellhyttaArchDaily has released their top ten most popular design projects of 2012. These breath-taking and inspiring designs, predominately based in architecture come from all over the globe and include Moses Bridge by RO&AD Architecten in Halsteren, Netherlands, Ningbo Historic Museum by Wang Shu, Amateur Architecture Studio in Ningbo, China and Tverrfjellhytta by Snøhetta in Hjerkinn, Norway   

Have a look at the full list here

A couple of book reviews


Detail in Contemporary Lighting designLighting for interior DesignWe saw a great review for two new books on lighting design in Lighting Journal recently – ‘Detail in Contemporary Lighting Design’ by Jill Entwistle and ‘Lighting for Interior Design’ by Malcolm Innes.  

We haven’t had a chance to look inside either yet, but if the review and images showing for Entwistle’s book are anything to go by the content will inspire and give insight into “some of the most sophisticated lighting designs from around the world in recent years”. The visually striking image of the Deloitte HQ, with lighting design by Steven Scott, is stunning and certainly whet’s the appetite to see more.  

Whilst Innes’s book is described by reviewer Carl Gardner as, “a good attempt to summarise the theory and practice of interior lighting design in an attractive and graphic manner”.

You can get hold of these books on Amazon – see the following links:

‘Detail in Contemporary Lighting Design’

‘Lighting for Interior Design’

Clock this interior in St Petersburg


Yandex Office Interior

Yandex Interior Office

Yandex Interior DesignClocking in in St Petersburg, Russia could not be easier than in this office designed by Za Bor Architects.

The office was designed for Yandex, a search engine business, who wanted to go one step further than their other office in the same building, which was also designed by Za Bor.

The project architects decided to locate meeting ‘cells’, work areas and unusual objects along the corridor, resulting in visitors finding themselves ‘inside’ the Yandex search service. 

At the reception they’re met by a ‘Search’ button and a yellow arrow (an unofficial Yandex logo) and as visitors move around the corridors they find familiar user name and email password input boxes as well as symbols and icons associated with Yandex services.

To find out more about this interesting themed interior visit Contemporist by clicking here.

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